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    Personal Insurance Blog

    Insurance University: Tips for the College Bound

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Sat, Feb 25, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

    Insure your college student with personal from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAFor many young adults, college is an incredibly liberating experience and a time of emotional and intellectual growth as fledgling freshman adventure further along the path of higher education. Unfortunately, many of the high tech gadgets and electronics that pepper dorm rooms can also find it an incredibly liberating experience… as they adventure out of the dorm in the hands of a thief.  The reality is that theft on college campuses does occur, according to the Newton’s 2nd law of theft:

    Expensive Electronics + Doors Left Open + The Occasional Dorm Party = Theft

    Fortunately, insuring the things your student takes away to college can be insured easily and affordably. Here’s what you should know.

    1. You’re probably already covered: Most students are covered under their parents’ homeowners policy, as long as they still list their primary residence as their home address rather than their dorm room. No need to fear if your student has enough electronics littering his or her dorm room to disrupt aircraft radar within a five mile radius; there is generally a 10% coverage rule that protects 10% of the value of your personal belongings worldwide (which includes hotel rooms, temporary residences, etc).  Even so, it’s probably a good idea to call your insurance provider and double check that your college bound daughter or son is covered.
    2. Yes, that includes Healthcare: A recent change in national law recently superseded the state’s coverage policy.  The old law stated that all full time students who are still dependent are covered under their parents’ policy to age 25. The new healthcare legislation further extended this to all non-married children up to 26 years of age.
    3. The abandoned car: many students go off to college and leave their cars at home. Make sure you aren’t paying top dollar for a car that will sit in your garage all year and only endanger the lawnmower next to it. Call your insurance agent and ask for a discount if the car will not be at school.  Furthermore, ask if good student discounts are available should your studious scholar return home to use the vehicle. 
    4. After Graduation: After your college student graduates and takes up residence elsewhere, the rules of the game change. They will no longer be covered under your homeowner’s policy, but will instead most likely need tenant insurance for their apartment or rented house. However, these policies are very affordable and will cover anything in the apartment that would break if someone “turned the apartment upside down and shook it” (Meehan Insurance).

    Cover your college bound student with personal from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAEven with this information, it’s a good idea to call your professional insurance provider and have a conversation about your son or daughter’s coverage before they leave for college. The short amount of time on the phone could save you time, money, and headaches in the future.

    Additionally, an ounce of prevention is worth a time honored cliché (or a pound of cure). It’s worth taking the time to prevent the theft of items that your students own. You can protect laptops from theft by purchasing a notebook combination lock (several affordable products are listed here). Another good use of time is to photograph all valuable items and take down serial numbers and other information then store them in a GoogleDocs document; if you have a google account, you already have access to this feature. If you don’t, setting up an account is free, easy, and you can access your documents from any computer with internet access. Taking preventative measures before the next dorm party can keep your son or daughter’s electronics from “walking out” in the middle of the chaos.

    For more insurance tips, information, resources, and quotes, visit us at the A. G. Gordon, Inc website. Learn more about personal insurance here

      INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: home, theft, auto, policy, insurance, student, massachusetts, prevention, university, college

    Bicycle Theft Prevention

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Thu, Feb 23, 2017 @ 12:06 PM

    Now that the weather (in MA anyway) is growing more amenable to outdoor activities, you may find yourself on a bike. Unfortunately, bicycles are favorites for thieves, especially on college campuses. An unlocked, unguarded bike is one of the easiest things to steal; don’t forget, thieves are enjoying the warmer weather too.

    The National Bike Registry is a pretty cool service; by registering with them, if your bike is stolen, police have a way to identify it as yours if found. Otherwise, it will end up in police auction. As the name suggests, this is a national database that covers all 50 states. It’s definitely worth the time to register with them, especially if you have a nice bike.

    Keep your bike safe with a lock and personal from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAAccording to the III:

    • Bicycles are generally covered under homeowners or renters insurance. However, there is usually a $250 – $500 deductible. Your homeowners or renters policy also provides liability coverage in the event of a collision that results in injury to another person. There are no deductibles for liability claims.
    •  
      Once you purchase a bicycle, keep the receipt for it and any accessories you add. Also, take photographs of the bike. Store these documents off-premises and alert your insurance professional to your new purchase. If you own an expensive bike, consider purchasing a floater. This will provide more coverage than a homeowners or renters policy. For instance, in the event of an accident, a floater covers the cost of bike repairs. A floater costs approximately $9 for every $100 of the bike’s value and there are no deductibles.

    The best way to prevent bicycle theft is simply to lock your bike up. Cable locks are generally able to be cut, so invest in a sturdy U-Lock. In addition, make sure your bicycle is locked up correctly:

    Learn more about personal insurance here.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?  

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: theft, auto, lock, cycling, insurance, Business, prevention, car, bike, bicycle

    Boat Theft Prevention

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Mon, Feb 13, 2017 @ 11:40 AM

    Protect your vehicle and prevent identity theft with watercraft insurance from Andrew Gordon IncWhen you’re driving your car, how many times do you leave the key in the ignition or the engine running if you’re not there? Never, right? So why do people leave the keys to their boats in the ignition, or leave their boat running while they go to grab fishing poles from their car?

    What is the Danger?

    If I’m wondering it, then thieves are wondering it as well. Boat theft is one of the most underrated forms of vehicular theft in the United States. But just because it’s underrated doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen frequently. Experts estimate that at least 1000 boats are stolen per month, less than half of which are recovered.

    Preventative Steps

    Here are some steps you can take to keep the harbor hooligans away from your beautiful boat:

    1. Never leave the keys in your boat.
    2. Keep your boat in a well guarded, well lit area – This one is common sense.
    3. Consider investing in an emergency kill-switch or alarm for your boat – this is one of the most straightforward and effective ways to protect against boat theft.
    4. Consider also prop locks and wheel locks.
    5. Scratch your Driver’s license number in a hidden place (such as under the engine cover) – This will give the police a way to identify the boat as yours if stolen.

    When times are tough, criminals get tougher.

    Learn more about watercraft insurance here.

    Contact Us
    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: theft, insurance, boating, boat, South American, groups, prevention, Vehicle, identity

    Identity Theft Prevention: College

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Insurance

    Wed, Feb 01, 2017 @ 11:26 AM

    describe the imageCollege provides a whole new world to students along with independence and a perspective into the “real world”. However, in order to do this, many college students find themselves sharing personal space with many people that they don’t know. Here are some helpful hints for college teens to ward off identity thieves.

    Mail

    College students are constantly out and about; trips, vacations, and time away from school leave personal mail to ferment in student mailboxes.  Make sure your teen doesn’t leave mail lying around, and have him or her cancel any mail during vacations or holidays.

    Personal Possessions

    It is a myth that identity theft occurs over the internet with the disclosure of online account numbers and passwords. A large portion of identity thieves make an honest living by rolling up their sleeves and stealing identification the old-fashioned way. Make sure your teen carefully guards his or her computer, wallet, or purse. One moment of carelessness can lead to devastating consequences.  Here's one strategy when several students live together: let one laptop take one for the team for general browsing, but never for on-line transactions or access to secure accounts.  Checking the hours of the cafe is one thing; but for on-line banking, use your own secure machine.

    Personal Questions:

    Many college students are not suspicious about requests for personal information, especially when it seems to come from a legitimate source, such as a landlord or dormitory. Advise your teen to always question the need to reveal personal information. Additionally, make sure your teen NEVER USES SCHOOL COMPUTERS TO CONDUCT BUSINESS, such as online banking or logging in. Taking identification information from public computer terminals is easier for identity thieves than taking candy (and social security number) from a baby.

    Shredders

    One of the best ways to dispose of personal documents such as mail and bills is to use a shredder. They’re cheap, and generally eliminate the possibility of a thief recovering documents from the trash.

    Facebook 

    Using Facebook is an activity that many college students would not feel normal without. However, thieves can use the public information to gain access to a student’s identity. A common misconception is that a Facebook profile is visible only to friends; a remarkable amount of information can be recovered with a simple google search for a profile. Here are a few things to leave off your profile:

    Date of birth- Everyone likes getting notifications on their birthday, but leave the year out, or change the date to another day of the month.  One of the most common ways to validate credit information over the phone is through date of birth. Don’t let yours land on the internet.

    Travel Plans- Posting Vacation times or specific plans alerts both identity and regular thieves as to when your college student is away, and/or their location. Don’t extend the thieves a written invitation to burglarize a dorm or make a trip to the bank. They might be closer than your teen suspects.

    DON’T POST A PERSONAL PHONE NUMBER OR ADDRESS ON A FACEBOOK PAGE, except possibly your phone,  for Friends ONLY.

    And NEVER, ever, ever post your mother’s maiden name on your page (the most asked security question online); you are handing your online transactions over to identity thieves on a silver platter.

    2-Step Verification

    In light of the recent theft of celebrity photos from on-line accounts, assume that nothing kept on your mobile device is truly private.  But to secure your personal information further, use 2-step verification.  This is a feature where you can have the host (Google, LinkedIn, etc.) text another device (such as your smart phone) a one time code to access your account. Use this at least for whenever a new device tries to access your account, such as when you're traveling or accessing from another network. This is similar to the need for two keys to access your safe deposit box at the bank:  Two steps may take time, but isn't your private information worth protecting?

    Learn more about personal safety and insurance tips here.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?    

    Corbin Foucart

    Tags: theft, id, prevention, college, identity

    Concert Safety

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Thu, May 30, 2013 @ 03:53 PM

    Last Stay safe during concerts with personal insurance and safety tips from Andrew G Gordon Incweekend I spent my time at the Boston Calling music festival in Boston. A few days before, I saw Ke$ha and Pitbull at the Comcast Center in Mansfield. Last summer, I was fortunate enough to see Coldplay play at the TD Garden in July. I'm not going to say I'm an avid concert-goer, but as of now, I plan on seeing a couple of concerts in the fall and the winter.

    Just like lots of people, I really enjoy music. And, I really like live music. There's almost nothing greater than listening to my favorite songs and seeing the artist perform. It's absolutely fantastic. Other people think it's fantastic too (maybe that's why concerts are usually so crowded... hmm), but with any fantastic thing in life comes some sort of risk. Just to ensure you have fun at your concert, here are a couple of safety tips you should know:

    Protect yourself during music festival concerts from theft with personal insurance from Andrew G Gordon IncTransportation

    Concerts can usually get out pretty late, and you'll be driving around at night with a bunch of people that are just as excited and tired as you are. Not to mention, there will probably be a couple of drivers who have had something to drink. To make sure you are as safe as possible, don't tail other drivers, and make sure you have designated driver who can make good judgements quickly.

    The ShinsTheft

    There are a lot of people at concerts who are looking to get something out of you- something like your wallet, complete with cash, credit cards, and photo ID. Make sure you keep all your valuables safe and on your person. Don't forget to check that you have everything with you whenever you change locations (i.e. from the bathroom to the snack stand to your seats, etc.) And make sure you check everything: wallet, cell phone, car keys, etc.

    Marina and the DiamondsHarm

    Although I like to believe that people are generally good, there are some wackos out there. Make sure you always travel with a buddy or in a group. When I went to see Coldplay last summer, I went with two of my guy friends. They didn't mind accompanying me to the bathroom last year and waiting outside- it was for my safety, and I'm grateful for them. There will always be creepy people lurking about, so just be sure you never have to face them alone. If you ever feel uncomfortable or in danger, talk to concert security immediately.

    Planning

    If you travel with a large group of people, and you split up into smaller groups (keeping with the buddy system), make sure you have a plan. Make sure everybody has a charged cell phone and everybody else's contact information. If a cell phone's battery dies, decide on a meeting place at a certain time. You don't want to be roaming around in smaller groups. That just wastes time. Also, if you're concert is outdoors, make sure you check the weather for that day and dress appropriately. The first day of Boston Calling was cold and rainy all day, but the second day was wonderful.

    I had loads of fun at my concerts. The shows were unbelievable, and in the moment I just felt so happy. I'm glad I took some necessary precautions before the concerts; it's best to be safe.

    If you have any other questions about insurance or safety, don't hesitate to contact us. Stay safe and have fun at your concerts!

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

     

    Tags: theft, concert safety, concert, coldplay, boston calling, kesha, harm, buddy system, music, planning

    Mac or PC?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Thu, Nov 22, 2012 @ 06:00 PM

    The timeless question mac vs pc answered by andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maIt’s almost the holiday season and that can mean only one thing- presents. With high school seniors eagerly waiting acceptance letters and college kids returning for the break, technology is going to be a "must-have." Students flock to Best Buy, the Apple Store, and the internet for the best deal on the best computer. Many people choose different sides of the argument as if they are picking team Jacob or Edward (ok, maybe it’s more like Coke vs. Pepsi). You’re either a Mac or a PC person (remember that ad a few years back?) So, what’s the big fuss about?

    PC (Windows)

    Windows operating systems have been a staple in home and business computers for decades. No one can deny the plentitude of options and variations allows for a custom computer how you want it. Most programs and institutions have their base in PCs, meaning if you have one, you’re probably already compatible. The operating system for Windows is not the issue. Windows 7 is a fine tool and excellent to work with. Now with the launch of Windows 8, there are more options for everyone. However, the most common problem for PCs are the hardware. Dell, Acer, Lenovo, etc. all make the computers that run windows, and most of the problems come with design flaws and issues within these machines.

    Decide mac or pc for your personal insurance with andrew gordon inc norwell ma

    Mac

    Don’t go based on looks. These computers perform very well at a lot of tasks. Options and configurations aren’t as plentiful as the PC counterpart; however, the two have been coming together in the compatible programs and documents department. No doubt, technology is moving to the cloud. Apple utilizes this feature and has made their products integrated with the web base storage and sharing options. Not to mention the ease of use that is associated with Macs. Apple utilizes a vertical integration business model; meaning they own or operate all aspects of the computer build process, meaning if there is a problem, Apple can be held responsible to fix the issue. A major advantage of Mac computers is they can run a windows operating system like Windows at the same time as OS X, so you can literally get the best of both worlds.

    For more on the great debate: visit Intel’s, APC's, Popular Mechanic's, and Apple's pitch for the products. I use both PCs and Macs frequently; my personal preference is Mac for the reliability, speed, and overall appeal.

    Know mac or pc for your personal with andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maInsurance aspect

    There are pros and cons to both models of computer, and inherent risks to owning one. Computers are an investment, no matter which way you roll. Protect your investment and make sure that your new laptop is covered under the parent’s homeowner personal property coverage on the homeowner policy or sometimes there is a computer or electronics endorsement. If the student resides in an off-campus apartment, they may need to buy a renter’s policy as most insurers do not extend coverage to a rented apt from the parent policy. Take photographs and save the receipt of purchase in a safe place.

    Other protection

    See our previous blog about preventing theft in college for a comprehensive list of crime deterrent tips. What about those pictures from last year’s vacation and your sister’s wedding? Back up your files on an external hard drive, or send it to the cloud where even fire, flood, and theft can’t access it.

    Which one?

    So which one are you, blog reader? Are you subscribing to us on a Mac or a PC? Leave a comment below with your opinion.

    Learn about personal insurance here.

      INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Tags: theft, work, computer, insurance, fire, apple, coverage, homeowners, Flood, mac, pc, college, macbook pro, intel, windows, microsoft, personal computer, laptop, tablet, notebook, comprehensive

    How Can I Prevent Car Break-Ins?

    Posted by Gordon Atlantic Staff

    Sun, Nov 04, 2012 @ 09:49 AM

    Prevent car robberies and break ins with these tips and auto from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maHow many times have you left your cell phone in the car because you know that you’ll be in the store for only a few minutes? Did you hide your phone in your glove box? Or, did you leave it out in the open? 

    Car break-ins happen all too often. It only takes a matter of seconds for a window to be smashed and for valuables to be stolen. Nearly 2 million thefts occur each year, and over 1 billion dollars worth of personal items account for the stolen items.

    How can we prevent these thefts from occurring?

    1. HIDE VALUABLES. Small items like a cell phone or a GPS can be stowed into the car’s glove box or hidden under some sort of blanket or sweatshirt. Larger items such as laptops should be stored in the car’s trunk. Make sure the laptop is located in the trunk initially; thieves notice when you move items after parking in a lot. If it looks as if nothing valuable is in your car, thieves will have no reason to break into it.
    2. LOCK YOUR CAR. Some people think that locking a car is unnecessary. After all, it’s such a pain to unlock it once you return. Leaving a car unlocked is an open invitation for everyone out there, especially since anyone can see if the car is unlocked from the outside.
    3. CLOSE OPENINGS. Locking your car (see previous tip) isn’t going to do anything if your windows are wide open. This applies to any sort of sunroof too. If someone’s arm can reach through the window, then someone’s arm is free to snatch any sort of wallet that may be out in the open.
    4. PARK SOMEWHERE SAFE. Park close to a large group of cars- more people will be circulating throughout the parking lot in those areas and thieves will be more wary. If you are parking at night, park close to a light so that everything that happens to your car is visible.

    Taking the extra precautions requires minimal effort from you, and maximal results. Simple things such as securing your car and hiding the valuables inside may be just the thing to prevent a car break-in.

    If you have any other questions about insurance and risk management, feel free to contact us.

    INSURANCE QUESTION?

    Tags: theft, auto, safety, insurance, rob, protection, prevention, car, robbery

    Identity Theft – Tricks of the Trade

    Posted by Geoffrey Gordon

    Tue, Jul 10, 2012 @ 09:23 AM

    Use of credit cards, bank accounts, and other electronic monetary transactions are a necessity in today’s world. An unfortunate side effect of this otherwise wonderful technology is the prevalence of identity theft. Previously a small and isolated type of crime, this type of theft has become ubiquitous in a world where money is wired from account to account, and most personal information is handled digitally. News of medical records ending up in landfills reminds us that our privacy is not always within our control.

    But this does not mean you can’t be vigilant and prepared.  Here’s a great checklist from Reader’s Digest developed by former identity thieves to show you discreet ways criminals can help themselves to your money: 

    Learn the basics of protecting yourself from identity theft and cover yourself with personal from andrew gordon inc norwell ma13 Things an Identity Thief Won’t Tell You

    1. Watch your back. In line at the grocery store, I’ll hold my phone like I’m looking at the screen and snap your card as you’re using it. Next thing you know, I’m ordering things online—on your dime.
    2. That red flag tells the mail carrier—and me—that you have outgoing mail. And that can mean credit card numbers and checks I can reproduce.
    3. Check your bank and credit card balances at least once a week. I can do a lot of damage in the 30 days between statements.
    4. In Europe, credit cards have an embedded chip and require a PIN, which makes them a lot harder to hack. Here, I can duplicate the magnetic stripe technology with a $50 machine.
    5. If a bill doesn’t show up when it’s supposed to, don’t breathe a sigh of relief. Start to wonder if your mail has been stolen.
    6. That’s me driving through your neighborhood at 3am on trash day. I fill my trunk with bags of garbage from different houses, then sort later.
    7. You throw away the darnedest things—             preapproved credit card applications, old bills, expired credit cards, checking account deposit slips, and crumpled up job or loan applications with all your personal information.
    8. If you see something that looks like it doesn’t belong on the ATM or sticks out from the card slot, walk away. That’s the skimmer I attached to capture your card information and PIN.
    9. Why don’t more of you call 888-5-OPTOUT to stop banks from sending you preapproved credit offers? You’re making it way too easy for me.
    10. I use your credit cards all the time, and I never get asked for ID. A helpful hint: I’d never use a credit card with a picture on it.
    11. I can call the electric company, pose as you, and say, “Hey, I thought I paid this bill. I can’t remember—did I use my Visa or MasterCard? Can you read me back that number?” I have to be in character, but it’s unbelievable what they’ll tell me.
    12. Thanks for using your debit card instead of your credit card. Hackers are constantly breaking into retail databases, and debit cards give me direct access to your banking account.
    13. Love that new credit card that showed up in your mailbox. If I can’t talk someone at your bank into activating it (and I usually can), I write down the number and put it back. After you’ve activated the card, I start using it.

    Sources: Former identity thieves in Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, Virginia, and New York.
    From Reader’s Digest – September 2010 

    Protect yourself and your bank account from identity theft with these tips from andrew gordon inc insurance norwell maIf you should become a victim of identity theft, be sure to contact your financial institutions to report the problem.  Many insurance companies offer ID Theft Recovery coverage either as an automatic coverage or for a small charge.    

    *13 Things An Identity Thief Won’t Tell You | 13 Things | Reader’s Digest. Reader’s Digest Magazine Articles. Sept. 2010. Web. 31 Aug. 2010. . 

    Even if all these steps are noted and taken advantage of, there is a chance you may still become a victim. Fortunately, many homeowners’ insurance companies offer assistance in reclaiming your identity.  If you’re not sure that your homeowners insurance includes ID theft coverage, contact us.  It isn’t expensive and will save you a ton of time and money if some sly thief absconds in the middle of the night with your identity. 

    Wish to discuss this topic further with a Gordon Atlantic Insurance professional?  Call us toll free at 1-800-649-3252.  Prefer to type versus talk?  Click below!

    HAVE A QUESTION?

     

    Tags: theft, Business, coverage, protection, credit, card, recovery, MasterCard, protect, identity, Financial, services, atm, debit

    Loss: Tips on Prevention and Restoration

    Posted by Sue Bird

    Wed, Jun 27, 2012 @ 09:34 AM

    Here are some helpful suggestions on loss prevention as offered on the Bunker Hill Ins. Co. website. Remember, your Homeowners policy is not a maintenance plan and you should maintain your property. Also, included below are tips on what to do if you do have a loss.

    Preventing Loss

    Cover your home in case of water or fire damage with homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MA

    Quick tips checklist

    Water

    • Maintain your roof and inspect it once a year.
    • Trim trees and prune dead limbs.
    • Keep gutters and downspouts clean and free of debris.
    • Check washing machine hoses periodically and replace them every 5 years.
    • Test your sump pump regularly.
    • Know how to turn off your water supply.
    • Consider installing automatic shut-offs on appliances and water main.
    • Replace hot water tanks before they corrode (every 7 to 10 years).

    Fire

    • Test smoke detectors frequently and replace batteries as needed.
    • Use wood stoves and electric heaters with extreme care.
    • Don’t leave candles unattended.
    • Keep outdoor grills away from decks and siding.
    • Dispose of smoking materials carefully.
    • Never smoke in bed.

    Accidents

    • Stairs should have secure handrails and be clutter-free.
    • Make sure there are working night lights at the top and bottom of all stairs.
    • Keep exterior walks free of debris, ice and snow.
    • Install fences and self-closing gates around your pool.

    Protect your home from theft water fire or storm damage with these tips and homeowners from Andrew Gordon Inc Insurance Norwell MAHome Security

    • Lock doors and windows.

    Going away?

    • Arrange for mail pick-up and yard maintenance.
    • Cancel newspaper deliveries.
    • Keep lights on timers.
    • Have a friend or neighbor check your property frequently.

    And if you have a claim, here are some tips to prevent further damage:

    • Call us to report your loss, or visit us at www.agordon.com
    • Call a professional if you need help.
    • Clean up standing water.
    • Cover holes in the roof or walls.
    • Report theft to local police.
    • Keep receipts for any work performed.
    • Find more tips on how to mitigate water or fire & smoke damage.

     

    Get a list of home cleaning and restoration companies in your area or check out our home insurance resources and white board videos. Learn more about the basics of homeowners insurance here

    INSURANCE QUESTION?  

     Sue Bird

    Tags: house, home, theft, damage, restoration, insurance, fire, prevention, loss, homeowners, water, accidents

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